Unafraid

I saw the huge mountains
I thought they were nice
I took a step towards them
Then stepped right back afraid

I saw the high canopy trail
I smiled at the beautiful sight
I longed to climb the trail
Then sighed, "it was too high"

I saw the beautiful roller coaster
I marveled at the sight
I wondered how it felt
To be up high on it
I forced myself up to the door
Shaking and doused in fear
Then took a step right up
The platform seat awaits

Shrieking in fear at the sight
I swore I was to die
I screamed and yelled aloud
Then closed my eyes at the sight
I opened it once more and realized we had stopped
Then out I stepped from the seat
Completely unafraid

The dream of no tomorrow

Sweat beads glisten on my forehead as I lay awake
I stare at the ceiling unable to rise from my bed
The fear still clings to my heart
My heart throbs wildly
As though a loud pounding drum
That dream….that ever horrid dream

The dream that plagues me every night
That leaves me white as a sheet
Shaking as though doused with cold water
I take a breath…then another…
Just to be certain that I am awake
I roll out of bed
Why you ask
That seems to be the only way I can get out of bed

I rush to the hall to find it empty
Smoke…thick black smoke can be seen through the windows
The community is on fire
The playground where I spent my childhood is gone
Mama Nancy's plantain roasting joint is in shambles
No house has been left untouched
Looting is ongoing in all the shops
Wailing can be heard as people mourn their loved ones
Loved ones killed in senseless clashes
The rich, the poor, the young, the old…
Politicians, citizens alike…
No one is left unscathed after that senseless fight for power

I walk along the streets in a daze
Glass shards pricking my feet
I seem not to care, even as the blood leaves a trail as I walk on
All around me, there is that awful smell of smoke mingled with blood

Finally a young girl sees me
She's covered with blood and holds a rifle
Her eyes are lifeless and cold as she points it at me and pulls the trigger
Her laughter chills me to my very bones as I jolt awake
From the dream….that sad dream… of no tomorrow

What lies behind that door

img_1219Some people call it cowardice,
Some people say it’s fear,
Some people scold and mock me,
Some say I’ll never learn.
Despite their scoffs and mockery,
I choose to make my path.
For they will never know,
What lies behind that door

They say I ought to take chances,
They yell what’s there to lose,
They claim it can’t be that bad,
But what do they really know.
They swear I ought to trust them
They say they’ve made that leap
But scarless are their bodies
Revealing their fibs and lies

So no I will not open it
No I won’t be forced
Until I know I’m ready
Until I can be sure
Until my heart is strengthened
I’ll simply stare and wonder
What lies behind that door

YOU NEVER WANTED IT AT ALL

You know that feeling you get when you think you want something

That consuming feeling that wraps your thoughts and emotions in one neat bow

Makes you believe you can’t live without having that one thing

That all you need to be happy is to get it

Just that

Simple really

You wouldn’t ask for anything more

You whine and pine over it for days even

Finally you get that thing you wanted

And realize with a sinking feeling

You never wanted it at all

THE THING ABOUT CONNECTIONS – Hurdle 5

Connections are vital in this our present country. One can even go as far as to say, they are everything though that would be pushing it a bit far to be blunt. It is crucial to network and make a lot of connections in your daily walk. You meet several people in a day. Some you would walk by on the street, others in a hospital, the church, school and most especially many you would meet after school.

DIF_MC_MAIN_Rich-Schmitt-Photography-090

You can be so meshed up in your own world and be so absorbed in self that you miss out on the opportunity to network and be linked to so many people you interact with on a daily basis after school especially during your national service. Some people you feel quick to dismiss can actually become so invaluable to you that you wonder how on earth you considered dismissing them in the first place.

Regardless of how “outside your comfort zone” it may be for you, it is important to make time to connect with the people you find yourself surrounded with during your service and even in your daily affairs. I bet you are wondering how on earth you are going to meet the ambassador or the president or even the minister while you’re offering your service. But you don’t really have to connect with already established and accomplished people.

The true connections you need are the raw talents, the nurturing ones who still have the capacity to shake Ghana right down to the core and bring out her hidden potential. You know that service person who seems to know it all and annoys you whenever he opens his mouth?

chatty-coworkers-700

Someone please make him shut up!!!!

Yeah bet that person just flashed across your mind for a split second. Well do you know his “knowing too much” however annoying; is a valuable tool? Believe it or not, you may be lacking in several areas he is extremely gifted in and by being close minded and unappreciative of his qualities, you risk losing that opportunity to get to know him better and improve yourself. That is the power of connections, it helps you achieve what would seem impossible in a shorter amount of time.

chatterbox

“Shoot me now and put me out of my misery”

What about that chatty lady who sits from across your desk and just can’t seem to stop her noisy chatter day in and day out? Yeah the one who gets you rolling your eyes and saying shoot me now and put me out of my misery. Believe it or not, you could learn a thing or two about communication skills from her, when to say something and when not to. You could also learn restraint and improve your social skills by connecting with her. For all you know, by getting closer to her, you could gently nudge her in the right direction and teach her restraint as well without the whole barrier of condemnation and being judgmental.

Catching on to the ropes yet? It’s all about perception and making the most out of what life hands you. Connecting honestly with people you meet today can prove to be a great source of help tomorrow. And don’t even think of being superficial or connecting with people simply because of what they can offer you because trust me…they can always tell. And no one wants to connect with a selfish self-centred user. Don’t be one.

79169088484e7f32ffbeded63c46da28

NATIONAL SLAVERY – Hurdle 4

Yeah believe it or not, you find that almost every senior course mate refers to the national service as hold on…national slavery. You go like, come on where is the patriotism? I mean you would think they would be grateful they weren’t being enrolled into the military like some countries do and are simply serving their nations in companies, schools, financial institutions, factories, projects and what not. But they simply smile at you and nod as though empathizing with you for still believing in such naiveté. It’s like you are missing a part of the picture and well…they apparently have that piece.

Annoying I know, trust me I’ve been there but what can you do? They do hold a piece to that puzzle. But don’t worry, I’m more than willing to share. You see as over rated as the term national slavery may seem to you, it does hold a certain element of truth to it.   You find that national service persons are overworked, under paid and subjected to the most rigorous torture…sorry I mean training (couldn’t help that one) you would imagine. Your patience is tried and tested one too many times, you find yourself in conflict with people who don’t like you for no reason at all, you find yourself overwhelmed with mundane tasks that you would normally deem underneath you and impossible to believe. Heck you might be asked to do stuff from people way down the food chain so to say and yet you would find that you have to swallow your pride and still do it nonetheless. Somewhere along the line, those chores you found annoying become familiar. You get to know those people you thought you would never like and somehow, you settle into this comfortable working relationship with them. You get to respect people more, understand them, your pride is broken into smithereens and you build your character through humility.

You finally understand the other side to the national slavery agenda, you can choose to either become a slave to good character traits which build you into a person groomed to take on bigger challenges or bad character traits where you destroy the little integrity you have and become a person every one chooses to stay away from in the work place.

d99033dce9a8e3ba8e517d31944088f1

Stay away from me, if you know what’s good for you

You know that one person with a permanent frown etched onto their face, yeah you know that one, probably walks around with a dark gloomy cloud that says “stay away from me if you want to retain your happiness” and who leaves you feeling drained of energy and life itself. The one who has nothing but complains about everything and everyone whenever you see him/her and who everyone runs in the opposite direction whenever they see them. You may even duck under your table to avoid that person, well I would know; I’ve ducked before.

The point is, true life sometimes sucks and true you don’t always get surrounded by good people or handed good jobs you would like, but if you allow that to cloud your judgement and hide all the other wonderful things you could learn; needless to say you would miss out on a great opportunity to connect with people and learn new things.

FIRST DAY OF NATIONAL SERVICE – Hurdle 3

OK believe it or not, you are running late for your first day of work and that is like so not cool. You do not want to be labelled the late comer on your first week. I mean this is the week where you get to exhibit how really together you are and how hardworking you are. Who turns up late for their first day anyway? It’s so totally like saying you definitely want to be discarded…like a used Kleenex.

So anyway you finally arrive and you walk into this company, your first day and you’re feeling all executive and business like. I mean it is after all your first real go at the whole doing a job thing. You’re really excited and then you’re not and you’re like in this cross between feeling all giddy and feeling like you want to duck under a bed and hide from the anxiety of it all. But well, you get your act together and walk up with the human relations manager to your assigned directorate.

A bunch of people from the other directorates don’t really want you and the bunch of service people you’re with and it kind of sucks because they can be so in your face and matter of fact about it. But hey, who are you to judge? It’s their choice and they really don’t want you, there’s really nothing you can do about it. Of course if you were to be some high ranking official’s son or daughter…maybe then you could have used that a little to your advantage but then again since you’re not…you kind of have to zip it and take it all in good faith.

You finally get to the office and you see all these people staring at you and your heart just feels like its frozen solid with fear. You look through the faces and see someone familiar. Thank goodness, at least you’re with a former course mate from school…what a relief! So you get to talking, to break the ice and settle into this comfortable conversation. The room is freezing cold and you swear you would break if you attempted to move an inch from where you are sitting. Doesn’t anyone believe in moderation anymore? You stare around and see your fellow national service colleagues shivering from the cold. But of course, no one can really be the one to say “excuse me everyone but could you like turn the frigging air condition off? We are totally dying here” So everyone just smiles and goes ahead to shiver for the rest of the morning.

The big boss arrives and greets everyone. He seems nice enough and lets the staff introduce themselves. Pleasantries are arranged and you’re informed he is willing to do all he can to make your stay comfortable and he urges you to do all duties with a full heart regardless of how you feel it will be beneath you. So you shrug and say oh that is workable, I mean how bad can it be? It’s not like you would be scrubbing the washrooms or anything like that right? This should be a walk in the park, nothing to worry about. Aww…it’s adorable how you still believe that. Have you learned nothing yet? Nothing really is as it seems you know, especially not in Ghana.

NATIONAL SERVICE REGISTRATION – Hurdle 2

Ok so everyone’s settling into the whole about to serve your nation mode where you feel all important and set aside for the greater good. I mean it is quite an accomplishment for any company to have you; after all you did complete one of the best universities in Ghana with a frigging degree and come on not everyone could accomplish that. They should be worshipping at your feet right? Well once again, life is about to burst your bubble and give you that really rude awakening from your self-imposed dream and shelter from reality.

You have to join these really long ridiculous queues just to register at the company you’re to work at. Then you literally have to rush and make sure you let the company know you’re supposed to work there. You may be wondering why on earth you have to bother to do something like that. Well I’ve got your answer right here. Believe it or not, your position, the one you literally toiled for and prayed and fasted and hoped till you lost weight…yeah that position well it really isn’t solely yours; wait for it…it’s actually up for grabs. You remember those friends of yours…the ones who actually have the connections and who know people who know people who actually know them? Yeah those ones can have that position if you do not claim it in time.

So here you are, a graduate running like your life depended on it to claim your slot regardless of whether the company is crappy or not…heck you don’t even have a choice. You get to have a good set of laughs when you see some of the places your friends got. The shabbiness of the buildings are enough to make you reel back and barf…literally. Ok so you’ve got this awful feeling in your stomach where you keep praying that your company doesn’t turn out to be half as bad as theirs in terms of appearance…shallow right? But a person’s got to dream.

So you get to your company and you smile…you grin from ear to ear and heave a sigh of relief as your friends tell you how fortunate you are. Well the company looks really good. You go in and make the claim and you are informed the company has limited amount of spaces for national service personnel. Yeah I know, hard to believe it right? But hey it’s their company. So you go through this whole trauma where you keep praying and hoping you’re not thrown to the curb and the day for checking keeps being postponed over and over again. But you don’t give up and keep checking till eventually you make it in. you heave another sigh of relief…finally it’s over. Sorry to mess this up for you again sweetie…but it’s really not.

GRADUATION FEVER – Hurdle 1

Ok so hooray you’ve graduated school, you’ve got the degree, the pictures and the compliments of family and well-wishers to boot. You’re well on your way to success right? Everything should be peachy and perfectly…well perfect. Ok so then comes the next scary part especially for the Ghanaian graduate, you definitely have to get a good place to do your national service. Heck there’s even the hidden theory that if you get that really good place, you could be set for life. No need for the hassles and torments not to mention the heartaches you would experience when doing the dreaded job hunting after you are kicked to the curb.

So with your heart full with aspirations and hope, you find your colleagues looking through connections, finding loop holes and what not just to get hooked up with the “right company” so to say. But of course being the ever hopeful optimist you are if indeed you are anything like me, well you would most likely have like zilch connections and as such have to chuck it up to blind faith and hope in God and that someway somehow you get this really good place and everything goes well. Of course you hope so hard that this really good place you get is like right there in your home region. I mean no one wants to be thrown that far from home…that’s like every graduate’s nightmare.

So someway somehow, you manage to wait at home and finally the national service postings get released and you’re like…really worried, scared, and excited all mixed and wrapped in one nice neat bow of frustration and anxiety. So there you are about to check your posting on the internet, sweat glistens off your forehead and you gulp nervously. You remember how your dear friend Kwadwo got thrown to the Nyamagla, that village you had never heard of in the Upper East. You can literally still hear him lamenting about how he heard you have to cross three rivers with a canoe and sleep on a mat on the floor. You shiver as you consider the possibility of a snake crawling into a room and wrapping itself around your leg. You mentally shake that sordid imagery out of your head and muster the courage to check it out. What do you know? Wonder of wonders you actually made it and got the ministry of energy. Ok so that wasn’t so bad right? It is after all in your home region and everything seems so much better. True it isn’t an amazing oil company but at least you get to stay closer to home. You’re ecstatic and literally lighting up with joy. But hold on, of course there are others who know better and who can hardly wait to burst your proverbial bubble so to speak. You’re informed of the likelihood of not being retained at the ministry and for a moment, your heart sinks but then again you can’t be bothered since you’ve swerved that bullet…well at least for the moment.

But hey lucky you, there are several more bullets life is willing to throw at you. But you can lick your wounds and retreat from the battle field with the security in knowing that you are safe from leaving home. Ok so you ask, well if all is well that ends well; why do I sense something more coming up ahead? And to that, I would say smart girl or guy; you definitely have that sixth sense and you probably should keep it because well it will serve you well.

“IT’S NOT BAD YET” SYNDROME

OK so let’s take a moment to reflect and come to terms with the fact that we have a big problem in our country today. Just take a walk along the streets…no need to mention any one in particular. Just pick any one and take a walk down that street. Take the view in and tell me just how many things you would see wrong with the picture. That billboard that hangs precariously in that corner. That house that looks like it’s on the verge of collapse and yet you find people filing in and out as though it was the most normal thing a person could possibly do. Those cracks running along the entire length of the walls of the shop you find customers and their children moving in and out of. Yet you find the reporters of our day, the people who represent the interests and are the mouth piece of our people quite mum about this. They turn a blind eye to these problems.

What really puzzles me and I find myself quite at a loss about is how these same reporters would be found racing over to that very site when a disaster finally occurs. It led me to ask myself this question and which I pose to you too. Are we to continue waiting till things deteriorate so badly that innocent people get hurt? Is that the only time we can actually take action? Is that the only time these situations become news worthy? What then becomes the use of taking action after the issue has occurred? Are we not then simply announcers of the death toll? Of what use do we become to those whose lives could have been saved? I do not lay the blame squarely on our reporters but also on we the citizens. We often find ourselves looking the other way and ignoring the state of the things we find in our environment. We shrug and claim “it’s not bad enough” we find most of our very own citizens laying the responsibility of reporting these issues at the doorsteps of the Government and the law enforcers and insisting it has nothing to do with them. Neglecting to realize that when disaster comes calling it does not distinguish between friend and foe. It simply sweeps in and wreaks havoc on the knowing and the clueless all in the same manner.

In the end, we lose friends, family members, colleagues and mentors alike. We end up losing both the young, the aged and the invalid all to the hands of a disaster that could have easily been averted. I really wish and hope that there comes a time when we chose to take action at the early stages of situations like this; attacking the root of the problem and weeding it out instead of waiting for a news worthy calamity to befall the clueless.